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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my xterra decided not to start Thursday night. I came home from work, parked, and when I had to go out later that night, I turned the key and... nothing.

I thought hey, maybe my floor mat is blocking the clutch and it won't start because the clutch isn't all the way in! That wasn't the case. I thought maybe my battery somehow died.. so I turned on my headlights, they were bright, and tried turning they key with the lights on. No dimming, therefore not the battery. I did however still hear a slight high pitched whine, but that could just be the relay. The relays after all did indeed do their job and click.

So now that I've weighed those 3 out, I suppose I have one of two problems. My clutch sensor is gone, or my starter is gone. How do I differentiate between the two? I've had this xterra for only a few months, I don't really know the ins and outs of it as well as I do my other vehicles, so I'm totally lost. I don't want to take off the skid plate and take the starter out if I don't know that's the issue!
 

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The whine could be the fuel pump.
I'd guess you could troubleshoot the clutch switch, see if that's good. Then go pop the clutch to start the engine and see if it runs fine. Get a jump from a known good battery, and if that doesn't help, then blame the starter.

Btw, unless you have aftermarket skids, you don't need to take off the skid plate to change the starter. That front one isn't in the way; the starter bolts are accessed from behind and the starter comes out by either going down or out the wheel well.

To check the clutch switch, use a multimeter and you should get continuity through the switch when the pedal is released, and an open circuit when the pedal's down.
 

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The whine is the fuel pump priming, so all is well there. As for the starter, grab the FSM in the DIY section. You'll be most interested in the SC section. Just run through the procedure starting on pg. 17 and you can confirm/rule out the starter.
 

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I'm watching with interest. Mine has lately been doing similar. Turn it nothing at all. Then I can wait 20 minutes and it fires right up. Also it's intermittent-very frustrating. Anyway I just swapped out the negative battery clamp- it was hard to get real tight and could be moved a bit by hand. Also while I had it off I double checked the solenoid bolts and got a little tighter on both of them. I hoping that might be it. Maybe part of your problem? good luck with it
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It ended up being the starter. I managed to bend the heat shield on the cat and squeeze the starter out of the wheel well so it was only a 4 hour fix. My new starter turns the thing over like nothing though, so I suppose the old one was on the way out anyways - I just didn't know it.
 

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I'm watching with interest. Mine has lately been doing similar. Turn it nothing at all. Then I can wait 20 minutes and it fires right up. Also it's intermittent-very frustrating. Anyway I just swapped out the negative battery clamp- it was hard to get real tight and could be moved a bit by hand. Also while I had it off I double checked the solenoid bolts and got a little tighter on both of them. I hoping that might be it. Maybe part of your problem? good luck with it
My 2004 Xterra started doing the same thing. I checked the park/neutral safety switch and the separate park position sensor. All good. Have towed it twice to local shop and now to the Nissan dealer. It is intermittent and the mechanics can't duplicate it. However, the service manager did get it to fail once, but next time started as normal. When it happens to me, it only starts at the shops after sitting. Very frustrating. Did you find a solution?
 

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It is still at the Nissan dealer. They have been trouble shooting it for two days and found nothing. They say they can't do anything more unless they can get it to no-start for them.
 
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